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Anti-Discrimination Battle Coming To A Head In Anchorage

AnchorageAs you may know, Anchorage is currently embroiled in battle against anti-gay discrimination.

In less than two weeks, the Alaskan city's residents will vote on whether to include sexual orientation and gender identity in its anti-discrimination ordinance. While equality advocates are optimistic about their odds of passing Proposition 5, the Los Angeles Times reports that conservative Christians are ramping up their opposition and that it may be a drag out fight:

Antidiscrimination advocates say a new initiative on the April 3 municipal ballot — gaining almost more attention in Alaska these days than the U.S. presidential race — has won unprecedented support from faith leaders, including the Episcopal bishop and some 50 other churches and religious groups.

Twice as many churches have mobilized to defeat the measure.

Now, thousands of dollars in contributions from grass-roots advocates on both sides, as well as from donors outside Alaska, are funding an onslaught of television and radio ads as Alaska becomes the latest front in the national debate over gay rights.

Critics have mobilized church congregations and gathered support from religious conservative groups outside Alaska to warn Anchorage residents that the ordinance could strike a blow to business owners and jeopardize religious freedom.

In a television commercial, they warned that a gay bar owner who wanted to hire gay waiters and a Christian bookstore owner who wanted to hire straight booksellers could both run afoul of the ordinance if it is passed.

“No. 1, we don’t believe that there is widespread discrimination that’s preventing gays and lesbians from having jobs and getting loans and housing. There’s ample evidence from those in the [gay and lesbian] community who say Anchorage is a very tolerant place,” said Jim Minnery of the Alaska Family Council, who is heading the No-on-5 Protect Anchorage campaign.

Journalist Kim Murphy concludes, "As the campaign goes into its final week, no one is betting confidently on passage." Sounds pretty dire. Anyone interested in learning more about Yes on 5, the equality initiative working to pass Anchorage's anti-discrimination measure, check out their website.

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Comments

  1. I would be very taken aback if ANY potential employer wanted me to discuss my sexual orientation at a job interview, no matter if it is to work at a pretzel stand, a gay bar or a Christian bookstore.

    And what about other categories that are ALREADY covered? What if the owner of that proverbial gay bar or Christian bookstore wants me to prove that I am white enough to work there?
    "Your cheekbones are a little high. Are you sure you're not part Alaska native? After all, we're a Christian employer and we wouldn't want the curse of the Tower of Babel to rain down upon us. Can we see your family tree?"

    The fact they are not raising objections about ALL categories proves this is not about the "freedom" they talk about, but very specifically about their own anti-gay prejudice.

    Posted by: GregV | Mar 22, 2012 12:59:02 PM


  2. "No. 1, we don’t believe that there is widespread discrimination that’s preventing gays and lesbians from having jobs and getting loans and housing"

    Even if that were so, and I stress the if, I don't believe there is widespread epidemic of people raping puppies, but the good folks in the government have seen it fit to create laws against that.

    Being widespread IS NOT and SHOULD NOT be a requirement before combating an injustice.

    Posted by: Snownova | Mar 23, 2012 10:28:54 AM


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